Dublin Zoo disputes allegations in Seanad about animal welfare

Senator Annie Hoey outlined concerns raised by staff at the zoo and a whistleblower’s protected disclosure

Dublin Zoo has strongly disputed allegations raised in the Seanad on Thursday about animal welfare issues and safety and management concerns.

Labour Senator Annie Hoey outlined concerns raised by former and current staff working at the zoo as well as detailed accounts issued by a whistleblower via protected disclosure on Thursday. Ms Hoey was speaking during a Green Party motion on animal welfare.

Ms Hoey said that, through her engagement with staff, she had been made aware of “a number of breaches” of the five freedoms of animal welfare.

“I’ve been told by the whistleblower that there’s been serious welfare issues, near misses, safety and management concerns at Dublin Zoo,” she said.


Dublin Zoo said it “vehemently disputes” the allegations of mistreatment of animals and “objects in the strongest possible terms to the manner in which these allegations have been made without any engagement with Dublin Zoo”.

A statement from Dublin Zoo to The Irish Times said the allegations were “wholly misleading and contain inaccurate clinical assessments”.

“Issues raised by members of staff regarding animal welfare at Dublin Zoo are treated with the utmost sensitivity and seriousness and are thoroughly investigated. Any disclosures are investigated immediately and rectified where appropriate. Staff can make animal welfare-related disclosures through their team, Dublin Zoo management or anonymously.”

Dublin Zoo said they would be inviting Senator Annie Hoey to the zoo to discuss the allegations.

Senator Hoey read out a protected disclosure detailing allegations about the treatment of Maeve, the giraffe who died last month and featured on TV series The Zoo earlier this year.

Ms Hoey said what she had read out was “only a snapshot of the stories” that had been shared with her about animal welfare failings at Dublin Zoo.

“I have pages and pages and pages of testimony from both current and former staff,” she added.

The Senator said she would be engaging with the relevant Minister, department and committees on behalf of the whistleblower.

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is a reporter for The Irish Times

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson is a reporter for The Irish Times